Isabelle S Demise

[13:11] * Yanmei dusted the last traces of cold, melty snow from her coat, and did the same with her baby-sitting charge's. It had been a fun day full of exploration and snow angels, and snowmen that resembled clumsy, shapeless piles more than they did men. -
[13:14] <Yanmei> But it was getting late in the afternoon, and they were both cold, and at least one of them probably needed a nap. "Did you have fun?" she asked, lingering even when the little girl's coat was completely snow-free. The thought of pulling away and knocking made a little knot form in her stomach.
[13:16] <Minaplo> ["Fun-fun, maamaa~"]
[13:21] <Yanmei> "Yay! I'm so glad~ You're good at making snowmen?" Yanmei smiled warmly at her. Maybe she could whisk her away, back to her own room? But… she braced herself, and gave her a little kiss on the forehead before standing. With one hand still holding onto Lizzie's she knocked dutifully on the door.
[13:22] <AdEvaGM> ["Come in."]
[13:23] * Yanmei did so slowly, almost reluctantly. "Hello Isabelle! How was your day?"
[13:26] <AdEvaGM> [Isabelle was sitting in her resort apartment, the colours muted, the dull white curtains drawn over the bright sun and gleaming, glaring panes of glass. She sat on a couch, her eyes closed- meditating. "Quiet, Yanmei. Please, come and sit down."]
[13:30] * Yanmei pulled off Lizzie's coat to make her more comfortable and then relinquished her so that she could run off to whatever suited her fancy within the apartment. She approached, still smiling. "Ah, well, you really look relaxed? We were the opposite, hanging around outdoors, playing loudly all this time."
[13:30] <AdEvaGM> [Lizzie ran off to the couch, grabbing clumsily at Isabelle's knees. "Snow-snow~"-
[13:31] <AdEvaGM> [Isabelle smiled. "The snow is lovely, isn't it? I'm not very used to it." Her eyes remained closed, but she tenderly stroked Lizzie's hair. "I feel relaxed. The world isn't as intimidating when I am calm."]
[13:34] <Yanmei> That sounded hopeful! Yanmei sank into chair next to the couch. "Then you've been feeling better these days," she confirmed. "I'm glad to hear it."
[13:35] <AdEvaGM> ["Yes. It's not the same, but I am getting better. Are you doing alright?"]
[13:36] <Yanmei> "Of course?" Yanmei tossed her hair confidently. "Not even a botched arena battle or two can keep me down."
[13:37] <AdEvaGM> ["Ah, that's right. You lost to Tokyo…"]
[13:38] <Yanmei> "Yeah. They've been weirdly graceful about it, though? The German team and their affiliated Jerkface boyfriends were another story…"
[13:38] <AdEvaGM> ["Oh?"]
[13:40] <Yanmei> "Yes, well…" If she told her about the drinking contest, would she think she was a bad influence on Lizzie? She hastened away from that explanation. "Asuka's been lording it over me every chance she gets. Well, this won't be the last battle that we have! And next time, I'll win!"
[13:41] <AdEvaGM> ["That's the spirit." Said Isabelle, almost dreamily.]
[13:44] * Yanmei nodded firmly. "So, how are liking the resort itself? Have you gone out much?"
[13:45] <AdEvaGM> ["I have not. If Adrian were here, I would have enjoyed the snow and the forests and the cool warmth of the sun every day, but this is the closest I can get to him." Her words were brittle and pained.]
[13:47] <Yanmei> "Ah…" Yanmei quieted a little. "I'm sorry."
[13:47] <AdEvaGM> ["…"-
[13:48] <AdEvaGM> ["Do you believe in heaven?"]
[13:50] <Yanmei> "Heaven?" Yanmei blinked, and turned a thoughtful glance downward. "I don't know."
[13:50] <AdEvaGM> ["Then, do you believe that when you die, you will be reunited with the people you love?"]
[13:52] <Yanmei> "Yes! I'm positive that's true at the very least."
[13:57] <AdEvaGM> ["Then am I foolish for yearning to be with him now, knowing that I will see him again?"]
[14:00] <Yanmei> "What sort of question is that?" Yanmei folded her arms, leaning forward. "How could you even help missing him, or wanting to hear and feel him again? You love him, and you love him intensely."
[14:01] <AdEvaGM> ["What would you do?"]
[14:07] <Yanmei> "I don't think I could change how sad I would be." Yanmei slowly leaned back in her chair again, frowning to herself. "When Isaiah was in a coma and no one thought he'd wake up, I resolved to wait for him. So… I would just wait for him then. Even if it was a very long time." -
[14:08] <Yanmei> "But you can't forget about other people who need your love either? Not that I think you would, after all." Yanmei gazed at Lizzie.
[14:09] <AdEvaGM> ["Yes. I think you're right." Murmured Isabelle. She still kept her eyes closed.]
[14:13] * Yanmei sat silently with her for a moment, watching.
[14:13] <AdEvaGM> [Isabelle was quiet for a few minutes, when…-
[14:14] <AdEvaGM> ["Can you put the kettle on?"]
[14:15] <Yanmei> "Hm? Sure." Yanmei rose, and hurried toward the kitchenette that had been provided for Isabelle's room. "I was just wondering… is there someone at the Synfront who taught you to do that? Meditate?"
[14:16] <AdEvaGM> ["I simply went with what seemed natural."-
[14:16] <AdEvaGM> [The kettle was there, empty.]
[14:17] * Yanmei looked filled it and rested it on the stovetop. "It was natural?"
[14:18] <AdEvaGM> ["Yes."]
[14:21] <Yanmei> "Hmmm." She returned to the sitting area slowly. "When you do it, do you encounter anything, like, weird? Light or a song coming from above?"
[14:21] <AdEvaGM> ["No. That's a weird thing to ask."]
[14:23] <Yanmei> "It is not!" Yanmei nearly pouted. "It's perfectly sensible given our latest professional objectives."
[14:25] <AdEvaGM> ["But why would I-? Do you want me to -imagine- these things?"]
[14:29] <Yanmei> "No, no! You remember our meeting before the tournament, right? The Chantry of Light? That's what it's like, so I just thought I'd ask."
[14:30] <AdEvaGM> ["I see…"-
[14:30] <AdEvaGM> ["…" She frowned, her eyes still closed- and suddenly her hands tightened. "A-Adrian…"]
[14:31] <Yanmei> "…?" Yanmei lifted out of her chair ever so slightly. "What's wrong? Isabelle-?"
[14:32] <AdEvaGM> ["Adrian! I feel-" She held out a hand quickly, grasping towards Yanmei. "I feel him-!"]
[14:36] * Yanmei caught her hand almost without thinking of it, eyes wide with alarm and surprise alike.
[14:37] <AdEvaGM> ["Where? Why did you go?" She asked, her tone warm and full of wonder and hope…-
[14:38] <AdEvaGM> [Then her hand tightened, sharply, and Yanmei felt as though a sliver of electric shocks had rushed down Isabelle's arm into her. Isabelle let out a sudden low groan.]
[14:42] <Yanmei> "What's going on?! Hey! Hey!!"
[14:42] <AdEvaGM> ["M-Maamaa?" Lizzie looked up, clearly frightened.-
[14:43] <AdEvaGM> [Isabelle's free hand flew to her chest, her groan starting to become stronger, higher- a scream of pain and terror. Yanmei could see the tiny rivulets of blood starting to form beneath Isabelle's eyelids.]
[14:52] <Yanmei> "The hell?! The…?" She grabbed her by the shoulder with the one hand she didn't have clasped in her deathgrip, and shook hard, desperately, and then finally drew back and slapped her full across the cheek. -
[14:53] <Yanmei> That… that was not how people did medicine. But a response…?
[14:55] <AdEvaGM> [Isabelle fell backwards, convulsing, screaming a sound that seemed to turn the windows to ice and froze the hairs on the back of Yanmei's neck. The blood was rushing ever faster, and it was pouring from her nose and mouth and ears…-
[14:55] <AdEvaGM> [Lizzie was screaming, crying…]
[14:57] <Yanmei> "No! Nonono…!" Her phone was out, and she was dialing. Marianne!
[15:00] <Yanmei> An answer! "Marianne! Help! Isabelle's … she collapsed!"
[15:02] <Yanmei> "Her apartment. What do I do? I don't know any medicine, and she'd bleeding! Lizzie…"
[15:02] <AdEvaGM> [There was a banging on the door. "Yanmei!"]
[15:04] * Yanmei looked up sharply, and scrambled for the door without replying to the voice on the phone. She threw it open.
[15:04] <AdEvaGM> [It was Isaiah, looking panicky. "I felt- you- what happened?"]
[15:06] * Yanmei grabbed his wrist and practically dragged him through. "I don't know! Isabelle! She felt Adrian's presence, and then…"
[15:07] <AdEvaGM> ["What?" Isaiah stared blankly at the sight for a moment, looking revolted- he put a hand to his mouth, but he didn't hesitate, running and crouching next to Isabelle. "I need cloths, quickly!"]
[15:10] <Yanmei> Towels from the kitchen! Yanmei rushed to grab them, scooping up the wailing Lizzie on the way.
[15:11] <AdEvaGM> [As Yanmei went, Isabelle stopped convulsing for a second, enough to open her eyes.-
[15:13] <AdEvaGM> [They were ruined and destroyed- where once they bore lovely green irises now only white sat, shot through with blood and tears. She reached up, unseeing, and grabbed Isaiah's throat in a vice-like grip.]
[15:20] * Yanmei pressed Lizzie to her as she spun around, hopefully blocking the sight of at least that. "Isaiah!"
[15:21] <AdEvaGM> [He was scrabbling at the hands uselessly, his face draining of colour.]
[15:22] <Yanmei> No choice. She dashed for them, stopping only long enough to stow the toddler behind the chair, and grabbed at both of Isabelle's wrists.
[15:25] <AdEvaGM> [At Yanmei's touch, Isabelle convulsed violently for one more second, then collapsed, going limp.]
[15:28] <Yanmei> "…W-why?" She didn't let go of her wrists. She looked to Isaiah.
[15:29] <AdEvaGM> [Isaiah shook his head, white-faced. "What happened, Yanmei?"]
[15:34] <Yanmei> "It's what I said! She suddenly said she could see Adrian, and then she was in pain. She grabbed me, and her hands were tingly, and then I hit her, trying to snap her out of it, but things just got worse from there." She was going breathless. She had to breathe. "Marianne's sending someone, but… her eyes, my god…"
[15:35] <AdEvaGM> ["She… She's probably blind." Murmured Isaiah.-
[15:37] <AdEvaGM> [There were sounds outside, rushed footsteps. S2 agents, guns drawn, with a medic. Frederic led them. "We came as qui- what on earth?!"]
[15:42] <Yanmei> "Help her!" Yanmei stood up sharply. There were more people here, and she had to get a hold of her herself. "There's something wrong with her! She's out cold, but she needs to be examined."
[15:44] <AdEvaGM> ["Right. Go get the stretcher- let's carry her out. The clinic will do now. You! Call command, get us a VTOL for immediate evac." Frederic stepped aside as the S2 agents carried out his orders. Isabelle was carried away, leaving Fred, Isaiah, Yanmei and a bawling Lizzie behind.-
[15:45] <AdEvaGM> ["Are you alright?" Asked Fred.]
[15:48] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei herded the sobbing Lizzie toward Isaiah. "I don't even know what happened. She was fine one minute. We were talking and everything!"
[15:49] <AdEvaGM> ["This just happened?"]
[15:51] <Yanmei> "She was talking about how she missed Adrian. And then she said that she felt him again."
[16:03] <AdEvaGM> ["… Strange." Murmured Fred. "It's lucky you were here, though."]
[16:05] * Yanmei didn't answer directly. She glanced over to the couch where Isabelle had been before. "…did Adrian do this to her?"
[16:07] <AdEvaGM> ["I… I don't know if he -could- do that." Said Isaiah quietly.]
[16:12] <Yanmei> "She started bleeding from everywhere just after she said that, though?" Yanmei opened and clasped her hand a few times. "Nothing about this was normal."
[16:13] <AdEvaGM> [Fred stared for a moment, then clapped Yanmei on the shoulder. "Let's go. We-we can get a drink."]
[16:15] * Yanmei started slightly, and then nodded, moving to follow.-
[16:19] <Yanmei> She would find herself, days later, in a slow-moving elevator. She was dressed neatly in her school uniform, hands going through her hair once or twice as she waited for the doors to open.
[16:24] <AdEvaGM> [The doors opened, revealing ahead of them the expanse of Ikari's office. As per usual, he didn't acknowledge her.]
[16:28] * Yanmei flashed a smile as she strolled in. "Hello, Commander~ Hope you're having a lovely day, as always!"
[16:28] <AdEvaGM> ["Sit down, Zhang."]
[16:30] * Yanmei did so, primly smoothing her skirt down, and looked up at him expectantly.
[16:32] <AdEvaGM> ["Bellamy has regained consciousness and has stabilised. She remains blind, but is still mostly sane. She is more useful than ever in her current state."]
[16:38] <Yanmei> There was a near-imperceptible shift in her demeanor. "Her 'current state'…?"
[16:42] <AdEvaGM> ["Bellamy 'saw' something. 'It' spoke to her in a way she could not comprehend, and it fried her optic nerves. The Technical Division conclude that she momentarily accessed the Chantry of Light, and saw Metatron."]
[16:52] * Yanmei stared blankly a moment. "How does this make her more useful as opposed to, say, completely devestated and confused about what happened?"
[16:55] <AdEvaGM> ["According to a briefing from the Committee and the Technical Division, Adrian Bellamy still exists, but he is hiding himself so long as the Chantry is active. Adrian's original First Ancestral identity was the one responsible for creating and maintaining the original Chantry; he has an innate connection with it, one that is lethal to human beings. Once we find the proper technology and research, however, we can use Isabelle Bellamy to access the Chantry at will. Since she is now completely blind, she is useless as a pilot, so it is no great loss."]
[17:10] <Yanmei> Typical. Yanmei held her words back until she could find some that weren't laced with distain or bitterness. "There's no reason why she would comply, of course."
[17:13] <AdEvaGM> ["Irrelevant."]
[17:17] <Yanmei> "How so? You can't force her to do it if she doesn't want to."
[17:20] <AdEvaGM> ["Irrelevant to me. That is for the OD of Kenya to handle." Ikari shrugged. "The Committee is convening within the week to decide whether or not to activate the Simonides twins."]
[17:22] <Yanmei> "Simonides twins?"
[17:23] <AdEvaGM> ["To take Isabelle's place."]
[17:26] <Yanmei> "I guess we're more disposable than everyone's been pretending we are."
[17:28] <AdEvaGM> ["Soldiers die in war and are replaced by new recruits." Said Ikari, his opaque glasses reflecting Yanmei's own face and nothing else. "Or did you think you were all invincible?"]
[17:31] <Yanmei> "I'm afraid I'm not quite that naive, Commander."
[17:33] <AdEvaGM> ["Then there is no problem. Any questions?"]
[17:33] <Yanmei> "None."
[17:35] <AdEvaGM> ["Not even regarding the nature of Elizabeth Bellamy, now that her mother is blind and mostly unfit to take care of her?"]
[17:37] <Yanmei> "She'll stay with Isaiah Gabriel-Wei, in Boston. It's in slightly less danger from an Angel attack than Paris is. Unless, of course, someone decided to hide one of Lilith's weapons underneath the city while no one was looking?"
[17:40] <AdEvaGM> [Did the corners of Ikari's mouth twitch for a second, as if to laugh?-
[17:40] <AdEvaGM> ["She will remain in Kenya."]
[17:41] <Yanmei> "Why?"
[17:41] <AdEvaGM> ["With her mother, naturally."]
[17:41] <Yanmei> "Supervised by who?"
[17:42] <AdEvaGM> ["NERV Staff. You have problems?"]
[17:42] <Yanmei> "I do."
[17:42] <AdEvaGM> ["Go on."]
[17:44] <Yanmei> [A mother would do anything to protect her child, after all. What is NERV Kenya's staff really planning to do with Elizabeth?"
[17:45] <AdEvaGM> ["Irrelevant. Ask them yourselves."]
[17:48] <Yanmei> "Loan me a VTOL and pilot, and I'll do that immediately."
[17:49] <AdEvaGM> ["Does a phone not suffice?"]
[17:49] <Yanmei> "Something like this should be handled in person."
[17:51] <AdEvaGM> [Yet another hint of a smirk. "I have it on good authority that the Kenya Director is quite happy to grant you custody if you so wish. Not Gabriel-Wei."]
[17:56] <Yanmei> "Interesting? That will make the conversation less troublesome, I'm sure."
[17:57] <AdEvaGM> ["I'm not loaning you a VTOL." Said Ikari sternly. "Use the command centre."]
[17:59] * Yanmei actually started to scowl at that, before she made corrections and reassumed her previous expression. "May I ask why?"
[18:01] <AdEvaGM> ["Because allowing you to fly to Kenya on a VTOL is absurd." Said Ikari. "It's frivolous, and wasteful of resources and time."]
[18:03] <Yanmei> "Commercial plane tickets would also be acceptable?"
[18:05] <AdEvaGM> ["No commercial airlines -fly- to Kenya." Said Ikari, glowering.]
[18:07] <Yanmei> "Then you admit the importance of using a VTOL for this situation," she said smoothly.
[18:09] <AdEvaGM> ["I do not. Your intent to use a VTOL for a situation that can be handled remotely is the height of frivolous, self-centred immaturity."]
[18:15] <Yanmei> "It's much easier to lie or misrepresent a situation when communication through telecommunication devices. How much am I supposed to trust this mysterious Operations Director or their intent?"
[18:15] <Yanmei> ^is through
[18:16] <AdEvaGM> ["Irrelevant to my situation."]
[18:17] <Yanmei> "Of course. Was there anything else, Commander?"
[18:19] <AdEvaGM> ["You are dismissed."]
[18:19] * Yanmei departed with a quick salute, turning away for the elevator doors.

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